What a difference a week makes.
After two opening stumbles Clontarf finally kick-started their Ulster Bank League campaign with a comprehensive victory over a young UL Bohs side missing their talismanic out half JJ Hanrahan who made his debut against Zebra in Thomond the previous night. As if in sympathy with the visitors loss Clontarf decided to even the odds a little by starting the game with a blocked kick for an away try.
This was hardly an ideal start for an out half on his home debut. I have no doubt that most mere mortals, given the same circumstances, would either, pull a cerebral hamstring, run through the hedge screaming, or do a ‘Basil Fawlty’ and fall into a faint. For the record, our young Mr. Darcy simply got on with the game and, as it developed, grew stronger and stronger, ultimately finishing with some outrageous dummies and sidesteps which I am assured are taken straight from the book on disco bar etiquette written by his father. Quips apart, this was really important for Matt because along with talent an out half’s most important attribute is durability. When you are the fulcrum of the game not everything is going to go according to plan. How you recover from the little kinks is critical. It is the difference between ordinary and outstanding.
One down the line from Matt was Niall Myron, another debutante. Niall or Myro as he is known is a recent arrival from the south side. Myro is quiet and unassuming. In fact, he is so polite you wonder why he is in Clontarf. That is until his opposite man tries an inside line on him and gets reduced, or emptied, or blitzed, or, as they’d say in D4, a little bit tackled. Myro has a bucket load of skill on board which is very nice. On Saturday he decided to ease himself into 1st class rugby the old fashioned way, by vaporising people. Made for Clontarf I’d say.
After the opening wobble the game went pretty much to plan. Clontarf controlled the ball well and put the opposition into the phase grinder which worked penalties for Richie Lane and eventually a try for Adrian Darcy supporting a Sam Cronin break.
UL Bohs got in for a second try after a defensive mix up on the short side of a ruck on the ‘Tarf line. At half time the score was 16 10 to Clontarf.
The second half began with a little bit of nervous tension in the home side but once Mick McGrath galloped in at the club corner nerves settled and ‘Tarf were able to open up a bit. Tim McCoy scored next after a ridiculous break from Dermot O’Meara who seemed to take every wrong option in a drunken run around the centre of the pitch until he drew three defenders and got the ball away into space. The game finished with a bonus point score from the captain Evan Ryan with the last play of the game.
So after two steps back we took a big stride forward both with the result and with the introduction of new talent to the team. Very important options for the coaching team to have.
Next week we head for Young Munster, to a renowned fortress of Irish Club rugby.